No matter how smart our smartphones, there are two important things that they need in order to work. One is battery and the other is coverage. Over the years, we’ve seen products developed that offer larger and larger capacity batteries and various technologies to improve coverage. Some manufacturers, such as Motorola, take pride in designing their antenna arrangements in order to maximize signal on a particular device. Carriers, for their part, use sophisticated software packages in order to carefully optimize their network, backed up by real world observations. We’ve seen new spectrum freed up by the FCC, with more to come from the 600 MHz auctions, which will also help providing your device is compatible. Another product that has been made available in various guises is the Network Extender.
Network Extenders do as one might suspect from the name of the product: they are designed to boost coverage for a particular carrier by providing a short ranged mast. These may be 2G, 3G or 4G LTE networking and usually use local infrastructure, such as a local broadband connection, to connect the ‘phone to the carrier’s systems. Today, Verizon and Samsung have released a new 4G LTE Network Extender for Enterprise. The device uses Samsung technology to produce a small cell with limited coverage and is designed to supplement Verizon’s masts in areas of poor coverage. The 4G LTE Network Extender may be placed in those troublesome “not spots” where there is little or no Verizon LTE coverage. Verizon states that the product is ideal for mid-sized locations of between 10,000 to 100,000 square feet and each device can support over 40 concurrent users over 31,500 square feet. Verizon’s release notes state that the device is perfect for hotels, hospitals, public safety offices, government agencies, remote and expansive operations facilities.
Verizon started offering Wi-Fi calling for Galaxy S6 family customers last month and this technology will continue to be rolled out to other manufacturer devices. Offering a small LTE cell opens up better coverage for all LTE-compatible devices and handsets, compared with a 3G extender, offers a lower latency, potentially higher performance connection and reduced standby power consumption from the connecting device. The technology is an ideal way of boosting indoor signal as depending on the construction, signals from external masts have difficulties penetrating deeper into the building. It’s another reason why a particular big business may opt to stay with Verizon for their mobile networking and cellular needs, as switching carrier may also mean buying or leasing a portfolio of small cells. Samsung America’s Networks Division Senior Vice President and U.S. General Manager, Mark Louison, said this on the subject: “The introduction of this solution with Verizon represents our continued focus on delivering innovative LTE solutions for our customers. The 4G LTE Network Extender for Enterprise expands the small cell portfolio for Verizon to deliver the best service for their location-diverse subscriber base.”